Theresa May warns of catastrophe if UK lawmakers don’t back Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May said lawmakers must not let down the people who voted for Brexit. (AFP)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Theresa May warns of catastrophe if UK lawmakers don’t back Brexit deal

  • Lawmakers are set to vote on May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday
  • Theresa May shelved plans for a vote in December when it became clear there were not enough lawmakers to back the deal agreed with Brussels

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May has warned lawmakers that failure to back her plan to leave the European Union would be catastrophic for Britain, in a plea for support two days ahead of a vote in parliament that she is expected to lose.
Lawmakers are set to vote on May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday, after she shelved plans for a vote in December when it became clear that not enough lawmakers from her own party or others would back the deal she agreed with Brussels.
May looks little closer to securing the support she needs, but writing in the Sunday Express she said lawmakers must not let down the people who voted for Brexit.
“Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy,” May said.
“So my message to Parliament this weekend is simple: it is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.”
On Friday, her foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said Brexit might not happen at all if May’s deal was defeated.
Britain, the world’s fifth largest economy, is scheduled to quit the European Union on March 29.
The Sunday Times reported that rebel lawmakers were planning to wrest control of the legislative agenda away from May next week with a view to suspending or delaying Brexit, citing a senior government source.


New Zealand orders top-level inquiry into mosque massacres

Updated 25 March 2019
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New Zealand orders top-level inquiry into mosque massacres

  • "One question we need to answer is whether or not we could or should have known more," Ardern said
  • Ardern ruled out New Zealand re-introducing the death penalty for accused gunman Brenton Tarrant

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday ordered an independent judicial inquiry into whether police and intelligence services could have prevented the Christchurch mosque attacks on March 15.
Ardern said a royal commission -- the most powerful judicial probe available under New Zealand law -- was needed to find out how a single gunman was able to kill 50 people in an attack that shocked the world.
"It is important that no stone is left unturned to get to how this act of terrorism occurred and how we could have stopped it," she told reporters.
New Zealand's spy agencies have faced criticism in the wake of the attack for concentrating on the threat from Islamic extremism.
Instead, the victims were all Muslims and the massacre was allegedly carried out by a white supremacist fixated on the belief that there was an Islamist plot to "invade" Western countries.
"One question we need to answer is whether or not we could or should have known more," Ardern said.
"New Zealand is not a surveillance state ... but questions need to be answered."
Ardern ruled out New Zealand re-introducing the death penalty for accused gunman Brenton Tarrant, 28, who was arrested minutes after the attack on the mosques and has been charged with murder.
She said details of the royal commission were being finalised, but it would be comprehensive and would report in a timely manner.
It will cover the activities of intelligence services, police, customs, immigration and any other relevant government agencies in the lead-up to the attack.
The gunman livestreamed the attack online, although New Zealand has outlawed the footage as "objectionable content".
Ardern reiterated her believe it should not be aired.
"That video should not be shared. That is harmful content," she said when questioned about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showing excerpts of the footage at campaign rallies for local elections this month.
Erdogan had angered both Wellington and Canberra with campaign rhetoric about anti-Muslim Australians and New Zealanders being sent back in "coffins" like their grandfathers at Gallipoli, a World War I battle.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters travelled to Istanbul to meet Erdogan and address an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Peters said OIC members were full of praise for the support New Zealand had offered its small, tight-knit Muslim community in the wake of the killings.
"A number of them were weeping and sobbing at the demonstration (of support) by non-Muslim New Zealand towards the Muslim victims," he told reporters.
"It was dramatic and I was told by countless ministers that they've never seen anything of that type."
The body of an Indian student killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks, meanwhile, was returned Monday to her grieving family in Kochi, where relatives remembered a bright young woman dedicated to her studies.
Ansi Alibava, 25, was the first of at least five Indians shot dead on March 15 to be repatriated.
The family planned to hold a funeral ceremony for the masters student in their nearby hometown of Kodungallur.